Stay on a working coffee plantation on the outskirts of San Jose
Rest by the pool or at the spa at Finca Rosa Blanca
The mountains on the fringes of San Jose are swathed in green plantations and forests. Most trips to Costa Rica start or end at San Jose International airport, and these hills are a great place to start or end your journey.
Finca Rosa Blanca is a working coffee farm in the hills above San Jose. The 14 villas and suites are uniquely designed with colourful artwork, and the spring-fed infinity swimming pool offers views over the Central Valley. Depending on your arrival and departure time, it is worth joining a tour of the plantation and learning about coffee production – one of Costa Rica’s most important exports.
Days 2 – 4
Nature walks and boat trips in the rainforest and Tortuguero River
Sea turtle nesting season between July and September
The Tortuguero National Park is on Costa Rica’s northern tip of the Caribbean coast. Tortuguero means The Place of Turtles. Each year between July and September, thousands of sea turtles climb onto these golden beaches to lay their eggs. If you are here at the right time, you are in with a chance of witnessing one of nature’s great shows – turtles nesting. Later see their offspring hatching and clambering back to the ocean.
Tortuga Lodge is tucked behind the Tortuguero River and the Caribbean sea beyond. This 29-room lodge is surrounded by beautiful plantation-style gardens, and it is the only hotel in the area with its own private nature reserve.
Daily nature walks and boat trips are led by Tortuga’s highly experienced naturalist guides. This is one of the largest protected wildlife zones in Costa Rica, and a vast array of flora and fauna can be found on the river banks and high in the canopies. Look out for three species of monkeys (Spider, Howler, and White-faced), three-toed sloths, and over 320 species of birds. In and around the water, river otters, caiman, iguanas, river turtles, basilisk lizards, and poison dart frogs are seen regularly. Bird-lovers have a chance to spot all six species of kingfishers found in the new world, three species of toucans, and eight species of parrots.
Days 5 – 9
Explore the Corcovado National Park
Take surfing lessons and discover marine life in the Pacific Ocean
The Osa Peninsula is home to 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity. With hundreds of acres of primary rainforest and pristine beaches to discover this is a wildlife-lovers paradise.
Lapa Rios sits on the tip of the Peninsula with panoramic views of the ocean and is surrounded by 1000 acres of private tropical rainforest. Tucked into the hillside, 17 stylish bungalows each have a private veranda facing the ocean where early risers will have front row seats to the sunrise as the forest comes alive. Lapa Rios has impressive eco-credentials: the restaurant serves sustainably sourced seafood with tropical ingredients grown on-site, and the bungalows are furnished with renewable materials.
The on-site guides are profoundly knowledgeable and will help you spot sloths, armadillos, poison-dart frogs and endless bird species in the branches above. A lucky few have glimpsed jaguars and pumas too, and humpback whales are sometimes spotted during the migration season.
The Corcovado National Park is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. Nearly all of Costa Rica’s mammal species make these forests their home, as well as hundreds of species of birds, reptiles and insects. The natural beauty of the rainforests and secluded beaches makes this one of the most exciting wildlife destinations in the country.